My relationship with the suppressor industry has always been a mixed bag. You find no stronger advocate for their use, especially in the gun media. My willingness to maintain a Class II manufacturing license allows me to continue this advocacy where others cannot or will not. Relegated to occasional use at an event, most writers like them, they are cool, but they remain difficult and costly to possess. Coupled with a long police career involving years as an operator and sniper, firearms instructor, and eventually SWAT commander gives me a bit of a head start. It also provides the ability to cut through the marketing hype and smoke and mirrors. There is lots to like, suppressors are great, but they were not birthed from heaven as many companies would like you to believe.
Jet Suppressor attached to an FNH SPR .308 Rifle
OSS Mission Suppressor on LWRCI Six 8 6.8 SPC
Using one on my sniper rifles for a couple decades now, they became issued equipment on department rifles almost immediately after using them. While a bit more problematic on entry rifles, the same basic mindset exists. While my door kicking days are over, all my self defense rifles or those set up for use in training are suppressed. Every rifle I can test that will accept a suppressor gets tested with one. Exceptions are those where the muzzle device cannot be removed, or I know through experience they just won’t work. With a working inventory of more than a dozen different suppressors used for testing and a few more on the way provides me with a unique perspective. It has prompted a request of some suppressor companies; please, stop with the sloppy seconds!
Liberty Suppressors Mystic X on Sig Sauer P320 C
Making your Millions!!
So, what do I mean by sloppy seconds? It is not unique to the suppressor industry, but it has over the years driven much of its development. That is the etherial military / government contract that is going to make you and your company a Bazillionair over night. Many a company has gone bankrupt trying to get that one contract that will set them up for life. Does it happen, sure, but its much like professional sports. For every Tom Brady there are a couple thousand guys working in a car wash or local big box store that were going to be famous NFL stars. Thats okay, failure is part of the American Dream, but when it comes to suppressors the buying public is the looser. Instead of getting what we need, we get what they “think” we need, often their failures.
Many smaller companies have stopped drinking that cool-aid, but larger ones still do. Bankruptcy is probably not in the cards for mega companies, although it can be. No, for them, it means those of us not sporting the nations checkbook get the leftovers. Rather than build suppressors designed specifically to meet the average shooters needs we get the failures in the military market. Uncle Sam picked someone else, so we get a suppressor that will hammer nails, you can drive over with a tank, or beat your threat to death with that weighs a ton. All but useless on a hunting rifle, or even a home defense rifle they are marketed as “tools of the professional”. They are better than sliced bread, “built for professionals”, and if its good enough for our “nations finest” then why should we get off our ass and build something else! As if because some government bureaucrat in a uniform decided it was best, with some paid “expert” it must be good for all. Time to realize the real market in the future is the average shooter, not the government. Nor is it the tacticool video game operator, couch commando, or apocalyptic warrior, but the average hunter or enthusiast. So, stop with the hand me downs, and build a can for us!
Gemtech Sandstorm, thread on Titanium Suppressor
Some Companies seem to get it..
Many recent tests have been impressive, and seem to indicate at least some smaller companies get it. For years Mikes Guns has been making affordable Titanium Jet suppressors. As an avid hunter Mike has used them taking game of all size at very long distance. Silencerco’s Harvester is clearly designed for and marketed to the average user. Less costly, less rugged, yet usable it is excellent for those occasional shooters not attaching their suppressor to a belt fed machine-gun. They are even making a shotgun suppressor, obviously geared towards enthusiasts and bird hunters. One of their principals has branched off creating Dead Air Suppressors. Built for the average user they look to be interesting. Mike Papas is well respected, and looking at his design he was focussed on us, not GI Joe. Gemtech is producing simple thread on suppressors that are reasonably priced, easy to install, and versatile. Delta P Designs builds lighter and shorter suppressors suitable for use on today’s more popular weapons. Priced reasonably they rival anything ever tested for sound suppression and durability. Recent testing of the Liberty Suppressors Mystic X proved impressive. Used on my Seekins Precision 300 BLK, a new CMMG MK47 in 7.62 x 39mm, it also worked on a Sig Sauer P320 C pistol. Lightweight, versatile, and simple it could serve most people as their only suppressor from 22LR to 300 BLK. Attending a sniper school in Georgia one of the instructors was sporting a suppressor designed to be used on everything up too and including a 338 Lapua. This was not your typical military monster priced at $3000.00 either, it was within reach of most shooters. Many companies are taking the time to build stainless steel suppressors that remain light, yet are hundreds of dollars less than their Titanium counterparts. Its promising, and SHOT show will be a good indication of where this is going. With the AR market tanking, especially the mouse gun calibers (5.56mm etc) there is going to need to be a shift, lets hope more suppressor companies jump on this bandwagon.
Christensen Arms 6.5 Creedmoor with OSS BPR
The buying public needs to jump on the same bandwagon. In order for companies to continue this trend the average shooter needs to start seeing the huge benefits of a suppressor on their hunting or self defense rifle or subgun. Or the flat out fun of using one on a pistol or rimfire rifle. Thankfully many states are lifting restrictions on hunting with them, the market I personally see as the most useful. While anything but a great white hunter, I do get out and hunt critters on occasion. Based on my experience hunting with a suppressed rifle they should be all but mandatory, making them less costly and more accessible would go a long way towards that end. It is better for you, your hunting partners, and anyone within earshot. There is just nothing a suppressor does to a hunting rifle that does not make it better. For those clamoring for self defense carbines or “prifles” (rifle caliber pistols) they are almost a must. Having been next to a short barreled 5.56mm when it went off the experience is burned into my memory, and it was not a good one. Instead of attaching some annoying brake that drives the guy next to you into the next county or the ER, attach a suppressor. Same recoil reduction, no ear splitting noise and blast. Its just a win / win all the way around, and downright polite.
Primary Weapons MK212 SD with Delta P Designs Suppressor
Many seem to think part of that team effort is going to be the BATFE, although counting on it is dreaming to me, planning on it is pure folly. The idea the government is going to “remove” the tax is pure fantasy to me, but hey its America, living in a fantasy world is ok, almost encouraged. If the stars align, hell freezes over, and politicians stop lying maybe removing suppressors from the NFA registry is in the cards. After all, they have all but eliminated the need for an SBR by approving a “brace” that is amazingly similar to a stock and calling it a pistol? But the the real effort needs to be on the part of the suppressor companies to build quality products for less money that meet the needs of the average shooter, not a military operator. Until they do, they will remain novelty items used by the few that can afford them, or see the need. That looks to be changing, hopefully it is not a fad but an honest trend. Time will tell, and in the meantime I will be spreading the word, suppressors are just plain good stuff for anyone, not just ninja assassins, mob hit-men, and tactical types.